U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue announced $12 billion in programs to offer a helping hand to farmers hurting from the recent tariffs imposed from China. The programs will help farmers navigate an uncertain market, expand domestic markets and procure surplus commodities that will be distributed in places like food banks. “This is a short-term solution to allow President Trump time to work on long-term trade deals to benefit agriculture and the entire U.S. economy,” Perdue said. It’s estimated that China’s tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports are worth $11 billion.
Work on the 2018 Farm Bill continues to progress. The House voted to go to conference and appointed conferees on July 18 and the Senate by a voice vote agreed on July 31 to proceed to conference as well and will name conferees today. Because the House has already left for the August recess, no formal meeting of the conference committee will take place until Congress returns after Labor Day. However, House and Senate Agriculture Committee staff will begin working on the differences during the recess.
In the June 29 Federal Register, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service called for public comments due August 28 regarding grading standards for canola. The purpose is to determine whether current standards and grading practices need to be changed to remain relevant.